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State Senator District 32

Description: The South Dakota State Legislature is the legislative branch of the government of South Dakota. It is a bicameral legislative body, consisting of the Senate which has 35 members, and the House of Representatives, which has 70 members. The two houses are similar in most respects; the Senate alone holds the right to confirm gubernatorial appointments to certain offices. The Legislature meets at the South Dakota State Capitol in Pierre. It begins its annual session of the second Tuesday of January each year. The legislative session lasts 40 working days in odd-numbered years, and 35 days working days in even numbered years. Term: 4 consecutive 2 year termsSalary: $6,000 + $142 per legislative dayRequirements for Office: 21 years old; 2 years residency; qualified voter; may not have been convicted of bribery, perjury or other infamous crime; may not have illegally taken "public moneys".Petition Requirements: Depends on party and legislative district. See SD Secretary of State's website for details.

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  • Candidate picture

    Michael Calabrese

  • Candidate picture

    Helene Duhamel

Biographical Information

What will you do to support the economy throughout our state in the face of international trade conflicts and the COVID-19 pandemic?

What should our state government do to provide an equitable, quality public education for all children?

What would you do for our local governments, such as counties, cities and school boards, so that they can be flexible in responding to local issues?

How do you view the initiative and referendum process in South Dakota? Are there any changes to this system that you would support?

With the redistricting process happening after the 2020 Census, how do you view the legislature’s role in this process and would you support an independent citizen redistricting commission?

What are your plans to protect voter rights such as online or same-day voter registration as well as absentee voting/voting by mail?

I support the Medicaid expansion to help ensure the health of vulnerable populations and those without economic means. I believe the state government should focus on supporting locally owned companies that create jobs in SD, which are the backbone of a healthy economy. I support country of origin labeling to ensure the South Dakota farmers and ranchers can distinguish their goods from inferior international competition.
The state government should support and fund Pre-K to post-secondary education for it's residents at an adequate level. Teachers and technology are going to be enormously important to making that happen, so putting state funds towards these causes is something that I favor.
I believe local governments should be given the flexibility to determine what is best for their constituents. This need to be within a strong statewide framework to ensure that all the citizens of South Dakota are represented fairly.
I believe the initiative and referendum process is key to haveing a functioning democracy. I oppose the ability of the legislature to override the will of the people with a simple majority.
I believe the legislature should have a positive influence in making sure districts are not drawn to the benefit of any one party. The gerrymandering of districts West River has led to one-party rule and done a huge disservice to the citizens of South Dakota. I support an independent citizen redistricting commission to take the power away from those who seek to hoard it.
I fully support early, absentee and mail-in voting. I believe the right to vote is fundamental and should not be infringed upon with any unnecessary hurdles.
Every challenge has opportunity within it, if we look and think hard enough. We are already seeing relocation benefits here in the Black Hills. We have two universities and the Sanford lab that have technology and intellectual capabilities that we can promote and utilize to attract those looking for a safe environment to do business in a less densely populated area. We have to be smart and aggressive about grabbing the opportunity.

I support re-training opportunities for displaced workers to pivot into high demand careers, like nursing. I agree with easing restrictions on businesses and ranchers to go directly to consumer with their products. I support the idea of helping small and medium size meat processors. I like smart, creative approaches to education in this new climate. We must carefully use the federal COVID dollars allocated to South Dakota to help businesses, with an eye on the future.
We need to keep trying to fully fund education. We made big strides in 2016 and we are still trying. The mistake is to see education challenges as something you “solve”. You don’t. We have had some form of education challenges since one room school days at statehood. We just need to keep speaking out in support of education and have our votes reflect our commitment.
I’ve always felt that the best decisions are made closest to the people. With a lens on “local control” I think cities, counties and school boards need the flexibility to make decisions without a lot of state mandates. All these entities have received money to cover COVID expenses.
I support voter participation in the lawmaking process with the initiative and referendum process. I also like protections to make sure there is not undue out-of-state influence. Over the years, it’s become clear that outside sources have looked to South Dakota as a cheap place to run a campaign and push legislation.

We saw this in 2016 with Constitutional Amendment S, also known as Marsy’s Law. It became a constitutional amendment that greatly expanded the definition of a victim and quickly needed revision when costly unintended consequences became a burden on cities and counties. This brings up big concerns about initiated constitutional amendments in general on the ballot. Unlike legislation fought and debated on the floor of the legislature with numerous public hearings, if passed, these new constitutional amendments cannot be tweaked or changed in any way without a lengthy battle the next year or two at the ballot box.
Legislators are elected by the people of South Dakota. They are a citizen commission. We need to elect legislators who will fulfill their duties fairly and thoughtfully.

We need to follow the will of the people. Just four years ago, in 2016 voters soundly defeated Amendment T that would have called for a citizen redistricting commission instead of the legislature. I understand that there will likely be one less rural legislative district in South Dakota and one additional urban district in Sioux Falls as a result of population changes in the 2020 Census. Each district currently has 23,000 people and will need to grow by about 2,000 in population.

I first voted by mail while out-of-state in college decades ago and still think it is a smart, safe, reliable way to vote, especially under the circumstances with COVID-19. As soon as I turned 18, I was ready and eager to vote. Many people simply check a box and register to vote when they get their driver’s license.

It’s also an easy process to register to vote and request an absentee ballot. I don’t think it’s an undue burden to be required to register 15 days before an election. Without that advance notice it’s difficult to verify someone’s identity and do a background check to make sure the person isn’t a prohibited felon.

We have a good system in place with expanded opportunities to early vote in-person and absentee ballot by mail. We have checks and balances and signature matches. It works well for those who want these options. Others can still wait in line and vote the day of election. We’ve made it easy for people to vote.